Last year we were privileged to share with you a mothers note about her son and her great loss. Austin Trenum never returned to the family on that fateful Sunday in November and Michelle, his mother, reached out to The Concussion Blog to share her thoughts. After a very long road of recovery that included a new concussion policy for the Prince William County school district, authored by Gil Trenum, and a tough decision to donate his brain to Boston University the wait is over for answers.
The Trenum’s have received the answers that they felt from day one;
The CSTE found that Austin had a multifocal axonal injury — structural damage to the brain. Among the areas affected was the portion of the brain that affects judgment and impulse control. The doctors can’t say for sure why Austin killed himself, but there is strong circumstantial evidence.
Having this answer does not change the family’s love of the sport of football, rather it makes them want to share the story even more;
“It was scientific validation for what we knew,” Michelle Trenum said. “But it was an agonizing gift to be given that information because you realize there’s other parents out there that have unanswered questions and they’ve lost loved ones, too. It’s what you do with that. That’s why, with Austin, we would like his legacy to be that other people were helped, that other parents don’t have to go through this, that other teammates realize when a teammate has a traumatic brain injury, they realize it and bring it to the attention of the coach.”
“If it was my son again,” Gil Trenum said, “if he got another concussion, he would be just laying down on the couch.”
You have no idea how strong this family is, after meeting the entire family while at the New Jersey Concussion Summit in July I walked away touched. Michelle and Gil both have worked hard to prevent what happened to their family to happen to any other. I am truly glad that they decided to do an interview with the Associated Press about it.
I would hope that all of you out there can take the message from the Trenum’s and learn about the proper management of concussions, especially with adolescents.